UN chief calls for investment in quality job creation and social protection

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged governments around the world to invest quickly in creating quality jobs and providing social protection for people without coverage.

António Guterres was speaking during a high-level session to discuss the Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions(link is external) initiative at the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York.

He told leaders to focus on concrete solutions to implement the initiative and warned that “the path of inaction leads to economic collapse and climate catastrophe, to deepening inequalities and to escalating social unrest. This could leave billions of people trapped in vicious cycles of poverty and misery.”

The initiative, launched in 2021 by the United Nations International Labor Organization, brings together governments, international financial institutions, civil societies, the UN and the private sector to create 400 million new decent jobs, particularly in the green, care and digital fields. economies and extending social protection to more than 4 billion people worldwide who are currently without coverage.

The session was also moderated by various leaders from around the world, including the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera, the Ugandan Vice President Jessica Alupo and the Egyptian Minister of Planning and economic development Hala El-Said.

The UN chief praised Togo for protecting thousands of its citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic after deploying “innovative digital solutions to extend social protection to hard-to-reach populations”.

For its part, South Africa was commended for launching the Just Energy Transition Partnership, marking a milestone in the fight against climate change.

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina highlighted the bank’s rapid response to the Covid-19 pandemic by launching a $10 billion facility that has helped provide social protection to more than 28 millions of people. The bank also launched a $3 billion social impact bond in global capital markets in 2020, which at the time was the highest in global history.

“But that’s not enough,” Dr Adesina added, “We need to restructure our economies to be productive with education, infrastructure, energy and make sure we have productive sectors that can use people’s skills and absorb them into the economy”.

“At the African Development Bank, we have taken a proactive job, job, job approach,” said Adesina. As an example, he named the bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa program to create 25 million jobs by 2025. Nearly half of those jobs have already been created, he said.

To generate more jobs, Adesina cited sectors such as agriculture where the bank is investing $25 billion to transform rural areas and turn the sector into a business.

In the energy sector, Adesina gave the example of the Sahel region. “We are investing $20 billion to build 10,000 MW of electricity which will provide energy for productive use and create millions of jobs,” Adesina said. He added that it was time for Africa to build manufacturing capacity for polysilicon materials used for solar panels “so that we can create a lot of green jobs.”

The creative industry, particularly the Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood, is another area that requires significant investment given its potential to generate $20 billion in revenue and create twenty million jobs, Adesina said.

The UN expects every government to commit to the Global Accelerator initiative and its goals, including developing national policies and integrated strategies for just transitions.

The President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, said that given the financial constraints facing his country, the implementation of the initiative would require the support of partners, donors, international financial institutions and support policy of the United Nations system.

He said that due to the overlapping crises of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and war in Eastern Europe, Malawi is left “in the grip of downgrades to our sovereign credit ratings, leading to higher borrowing costs and heightened debt risks.

President Chakwera said his country was ready to participate in the survey work of the Global Accelerator initiative.

Ugandan Vice President Jessica Alupo said her government has launched efforts to create jobs for Uganda’s under-30s, who make up 75 percent of the country’s population.

“We are increasing investment in skills development, helping informal social enterprises transition to the formal economy, and helping the private sector create jobs in key growth areas, including by providing incentives to investors,” a- she declared.

The Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said, presented various initiatives undertaken by her government to mitigate the impact of the crises on the Egyptian population.

“These include increasing the number of beneficiaries of the cash transfer program to reach 5 million families, in addition to significantly increasing the food rations benefiting more than 64 million Egyptians,” she said. declared.

“The government has embarked on an ambitious programme, the Decent Life Initiative, to reorganize rural communities and transform the lives of more than 50 million Egyptians in 4,500 villages, constituting more than half of the population total,” she added.

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